小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 英文励志小说 » 向前一步 Lean In » Chapter 11 Working Together Toward Equality
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 11 Working Together Toward Equality
I BEGAN THIS BOOK by acknowledging that women in the developed world are better off than ever, but thegoal of true equality still eludes us. So how do we move forward? First, we must decide that trueequality is long overdue and will be achieved only when more women rise to the top of everygovernment and every industry. Then we have to do the hard work of getting there. All of us—menand women alike—have to understand and acknowledge how stereotypes and biases cloud our beliefsand perpetuate the status quo. Instead of ignoring our differences, we need to accept and transcendthem.

For decades, we have focused on giving women the choice to work inside or outside the home. Wehave celebrated the fact that women have the right to make this decision, and rightly so. But we haveto ask ourselves if we have become so focused on supporting personal choices that we’re failing toencourage women to aspire to leadership. It is time to cheer on girls and women who want to sit at thetable, seek challenges, and lean in to their careers.

Today, despite all of the gains we have made, neither men nor women have real choice. Untilwomen have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share familyresponsibilities, they don’t have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing insidethe home, they don’t have real choice either. Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receivesthe encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible. Only then can both men andwomen achieve their full potential.

None of this is attainable unless we pursue these goals together. Men need to support women and, Iwish it went without saying, women need to support women too. Stanford professor DeborahGruenfeld makes the case: “We need to look out for one another, work together, and act more like acoalition. As individuals, we have relatively low levels of power. Working together, we are fiftypercent of the population and therefore have real power.”

As obvious as this sounds, women have notalways worked together in the past. In fact, there are many discouraging examples where women haveactually done the opposite.

We are a new generation and we need a new approach.

In the summer of 2012, my former Google colleague Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo.

Like several of her friends and the Yahoo board, I knew that she was heading into her third trimesterof pregnancy. Of course, many men take big jobs when their wives are weeks away from giving birth,and no one raises it as an issue, but Marissa’s condition quickly became headline news. She washeralded as the first pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Feminists cheered. Then Marissa let itbe known: “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long, and I’ll work throughout it.”

Manyfeminists stopped cheering. Since taking such a short leave is not feasible or desirable for everyone,they argued that Marissa was hurting the cause by setting up unreasonable expectations.

So was this one giant leap forward for womankind and one baby step back? Of course not. Marissabecame the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company … while pregnant. She decided how she wantedto manage her career and family and never claimed that her choice should apply to anyone else. If shehad cut Yahoo’s maternity leave to two weeks for all employees, then concern would have been inorder. She did not do this, but she was still roundly criticized. Even a European cabinet memberweighed in.

Like any individual, Marissa knows best what she is capable of given her particularcircumstances. And as journalist Kara Swisher also noted, Marissa “has a husband who can actuallytake care of the child, and no one seems to remember that.”

Women who want to take two weeksoff … or two days … or two years … or twenty years deserve everyone’s full support.

As Marissa’s experience demonstrates, women in powerful positions often receive greater scrutiny.

Because the vast majority of leaders are men, it is not possible to generalize from any one example.

But the dearth of female leaders causes one woman to be viewed as representative of her entiregender.

And because people often discount and dislike female leaders, these generalizations are oftencritical. This is not just unfair to the individuals but reinforces the stigma that successful women areunlikeable. A perfect and personal example occurred in May 2012, when a Forbes blogger posted anarticle entitled “Sheryl Sandberg Is the Valley’s ‘It’ Girl—Just Like Kim Polese Once Was.” Hebegan his comparison by describing Kim, an early tech entrepreneur, as a “luminary” in the mid-1990swho never really earned her success, but was “in the right place at the right time [and was] young,pretty and a good speaker.” The blogger then argued, “I think Polese is a good cautionary talefor … Sheryl Sandberg.”


Kim and I had never met or spoken before this incident, but she defended both of us. In a publishedresponse, she described reading the blog post and how her “immediate thought was—how sad. Howsad that as an industry and a society we haven’t advanced over these past two decades when it comesto views on women and leadership. As with all the past lazy, stereotype-ridden articles like this one, itgets the facts wrong.” After correcting the facts, she continued, “Views like these are all toocommonplace, and part of a pervasive pattern that belittles, demeans and marginalizes women asleaders.”

So many other readers joined her in calling the post sexist that the blogger posted anapology and retraction.

I was grateful for Kim’s vocal support. The more women can stick up for one another, the better.

Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. And it seems to happen even less when women voice a positionthat involves a gender-related issue. The attacks on Marissa for her maternity leave plans came almostentirely from other women. This has certainly been my experience too. Everyone loves a fight—andthey really love a cat-fight. The media will report endlessly about women attacking other women,which distracts from the real issues. When arguments turn into “she said/she said,” we all lose.

Every social movement struggles with dissension within its ranks, in part because advocates arepassionate and unlikely to agree on every position and solution. Betty Friedan famously and foolishlyrefused to work with—or even to shake hands with—Gloria Steinem. They both did so much tofurther women’s rights. But what if they had been able to work together? Couldn’t they have furtheredthe cause even more?

There are so many of us who care deeply about these matters. We should strive to resolve ourdifferences quickly, and when we disagree, stay focused on our shared goals. This is not a plea for lessdebate, but for more constructive debate. In Marissa’s case, it would have been great to keep the focuson her breakthrough achievements. Thanks to her high-profile appointment, other companies mightconsider hiring pregnant women for big jobs, and expectant mothers might be more inclined to applyfor them. By diminishing Marissa’s accomplishment, the attacks diminished us all.

It is a painful truth that one of the obstacles to more women gaining power has sometimes beenwomen already in power. Women in the generations ahead of me believed, largely correctly, that onlyone woman would be allowed to ascend to the senior ranks in any particular company. In the days oftokenism, women looked around the room and instead of bonding against an unfair system, they oftenviewed one another as competition. Ambition fueled hostility, and women wound up being ignored,undermined, and in some cases even sabotaged by other women.

In the 1970s, this phenomenon was common enough that the term “queen bee” was used to describea woman who flourished in a leadership role, especially in male-dominated industries, and who usedher position to keep other female “worker bees” down. For some, it was simple self-preservation. Forothers, it reflected their coming-of-age in a society that believed men were superior to women. In thissense, queen bee behavior was not just a cause of gender discrimination but also a consequence of thatdiscrimination. Queen bees internalized the low status of women and in order to feel worthythemselves wanted only to associate with men. Often, these queen bees were rewarded for maintainingthe status quo and not promoting other women.

Unfortunately, this “there can be only one” attitude still lingers today. It makes no sense for womento feel that we are competing against one another anymore, but some still do. In certain instances,women question their female colleagues’ level of career commitment, aggressiveness, and leadershipabilities.

One study found that female professors believed that male Ph.D. students were morecommitted to their careers than female Ph.D. students, even though a survey of the students found nogender difference in their reported levels of commitment.

Other research suggests that once a womanachieves success, particularly in a gender-biased context, her capacity to see gender discrimination isreduced.

It’s heartbreaking to think about one woman holding another back. As former secretary of stateMadeleine Albright once said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help otherwomen.”

And the consequences extend beyond individual pain. Women’s negative views of femalecoworkers are often seen as an objective assessment—more credible than the views of men.

Whenwomen voice gender bias, they legitimize it. Obviously, a negative attitude cannot be gender based ifit comes from another woman, right? Wrong. Often without realizing it, women internalizedisparaging cultural attitudes and then echo them back. As a result, women are not just victims ofsexism, they can also be perpetrators.

There is hope that this attitude is changing. A recent survey found that “high-potential women”

working in business want to “pay it forward,” and 73 percent have reached out to other women to helpthem develop their talents.

Almost all of the women I have encountered professionally have gone outof their way to be helpful. When I was a lowly summer intern at McKinsey, I met Diana Farrell, a starconsultant, at a company-wide conference in Colorado. Diana had just spoken at a panel that Iattended and we bumped into each other afterward—where else?—in the women’s room. We endedup having a talk that continued beyond the sinks, and she became a close friend and trusted advisor.

Years later, she was one of the few who encouraged me to join Google.

The more women help one another, the more we help ourselves. Acting like a coalition truly doesproduce results. In 2004, four female executives at Merrill Lynch started having lunch together once amonth. They shared their accomplishments and frustrations. They brainstormed about business. Afterthe lunches, they would all go back to their offices and tout one another’s achievements. Theycouldn’t brag about themselves, but they could easily do it for their colleagues. Their careersflourished and each rose up the ranks to reach managing director and executive officer levels.

Thequeen bee was banished, and the hive became stronger.

I know that not every woman encounters this kind of positive female support, and yet oddly, weoften expect it. Most women don’t assume that men will reach out and help, but with our own gender,we assume there will be a connection. We imagine women will act communally and maybe we do soout of our own bias. Once in my career, I felt that a senior woman treated me poorly. She wouldcomplain about me and my team behind my back but would not discuss any concerns she had withme, even when I asked directly. When I first met her, I had high hopes that she would be an ally.

When she turned out to be not just unhelpful but actually spiteful, I was not just disappointed; I feltbetrayed.

Sharon Meers explained to me that this feeling of betrayal was predictable. Both men and womendo, in fact, demand more time and warmth from women in the workplace. We expect greater nicenessfrom women and can become angry when they don’t conform to that expectation. “I think that’s a bigpart of the protest about executive women being ‘mean’ to other women,” Sharon told me. “I think it’sabout a double standard we have when we look at female versus male superiors.”

I now recognize that had this senior woman been a man and acted the same way, I still would havebeen frustrated, but I wouldn’t have taken it so personally. It’s time to drop the double standard.

Gender should neither magnify nor excuse rude and dismissive treatment. We should expectprofessional behavior, and even kindness, from everyone.

Any coalition of support must also include men, many of whom care about gender inequality asmuch as women do. In 2012, Kunal Modi, a student at Harvard’s Kennedy School, wrote an articleimploring men to “Man Up on Family and Workplace Issues.” He argued that “for the sake ofAmerican corporate performance and shareholder returns, men must play an active role in ensuringthat the most talented young workers (often women …) are being encouraged to advocate for theircareer advancement.… So men, let’s get involved now—and not in a patronizing manner thatmarginalizes this as some altruistic act on behalf of our mothers, wives, and daughters—but on behalfof ourselves, our companies, and the future of our country.”

I applaud Kunal’s message, especially his focus on active engagement. Men of all ages mustcommit to changing the leadership ratios. They can start by actively seeking out qualified femalecandidates to hire and promote. And if qualified candidates cannot be found, then we need to invest inmore recruiting, mentoring, and sponsoring so women can get the necessary experience.

An “us versus them” crusade will not move us toward true equality. Nor will an “us versus us”

crusade, which U.C. Hastings law professor Joan Williams calls the “gender wars.” These wars arebeing waged on many fronts, but the mommy wars, which pit mothers who work outside the homeagainst mothers who work inside the home, attract the most attention. As Professor Williams explains,“These mommy wars are so bitter because both groups’ identities are at stake because of another clashof social ideals: The ideal worker is defined as someone always available for work, and the ‘goodmother’ is defined as always available to her children. So ideal-worker women need to prove that,although they weren’t always there, their children are fine, fine, fine.… Women who have rejected theideal-worker norm and settled for a slower career (or no career) need to prove that their compromisewas necessary for the good of their families. So you have each group of women judging the other,because neither group of women has been able to live up to inconsistent ideals.”

Professor Williams is absolutely right. One of the conflicts inherent in having choice is that we allmake different ones. There is always an opportunity cost, and I don’t know any woman who feelscomfortable with all her decisions. As a result, we inadvertently hold that discomfort against thosewho remind us of the path not taken. Guilt and insecurity make us second-guess ourselves and, in turn,resent one another.

In a letter to The Atlantic in June 2012, Barnard president Debora Spar wrote about this messy andcomplicated emotion, exploring why she and so many successful women feel so guilty. She decidedthat it’s because women “have been subtly striving all our lives to prove that we have picked up thetorch that feminism provided. That we haven’t failed the mothers and grandmothers who made ourambitions possible. And yet, in a deep and profound way, we are failing. Because feminism wasn’tsupposed to make us feel guilty, or prod us into constant competitions over who is raising childrenbetter, organizing more cooperative marriages, or getting less sleep. It was supposed to make us free—to give us not only choices but the ability to make these choices without constantly feeling that we’dsomehow gotten it wrong.”

Stay-at-home mothers can make me feel guilty and, at times, intimidate me. There are momentswhen I feel like they are judging me, and I imagine there are moments when they feel like I amjudging them. But when I push past my own feelings of guilt and insecurity, I feel grateful. Theseparents—mostly mothers—constitute a large amount of the talent that helps sustain our schools,nonprofits, and communities. Remember that mom who pointed out that my son should be wearing agreen T-shirt on St. Patrick’s Day? She is a tireless volunteer in the classroom and our community. Somany people benefit from her hard work.

Society has long undervalued the contributions of those who work without a salary. My mother feltthis slight keenly. For seventeen years, she worked more than full-time as a mother and on behalf ofSoviet Jewry. She understood that the compensation for her efforts was making a difference in thelives of persecuted people halfway across the world, but many people in her own neighborhood didnot consider her work to be as important as a “real job.” She was still regarded as “just a housewife”—undercutting the very real but unpaid work of raising children and advocating for human rights.

We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by thosearound us. So let’s start by validating one another. Mothers who work outside the home should regardmothers who work inside the home as real workers. And mothers who work inside the home should beequally respectful of those choosing another option.

A few years ago on a visit to the U.S. Naval Academy, I met an extraordinary woman who wasabout to join the U.S. Submarine Force as one of its first female officers. She was nervous about hernew role and aware that there were risks in being an officer and not a gentleman. I asked her to let meknow how it went. A year later, she followed up with a heartfelt e-mail. “Truthfully I was prepared foropposition and the possibility of being discounted,” she wrote. “But it did not happen. I was respectedthe moment I stepped on board and I can truly say that I am a valued part of the crew.” Unfortunately,she told me that she encountered resentment from another source—the navy wives. At an onshore“welcome” dinner, the wives of her colleagues pounced and accused her of being a “bra-burningfeminist out to prove a point.” They forced her to defend her career choice, reputation, and personallife. “I was shocked! Talk about uncomfortable!” she wrote. “I did my best to answer their questionsand stand my ground. Eventually they backed off and started in on my husband!”

We must work harder to rise above this. The gender wars need an immediate and lasting peace.

True equality will be achieved only when we all fight the stereotypes that hold us back. Feelingthreatened by others’ choices pulls us all down. Instead, we should funnel our energy into breakingthis cycle.

Sharon Meers tells a story about a school parents’ night she attended in which the childrenintroduced their parents. Sharon’s daughter Sammy pointed at her father and said, “This is Steve, hemakes buildings, kind of like an architect, and he loves to sing.” Then Sammy pointed at Sharon andsaid, “This is Sharon, she wrote a book, she works full-time, and she never picks me up from school.”

To Sharon’s credit, hearing this account did not make her feel guilty. Instead, she said, “I felt mad atthe social norms that make my daughter feel odd because her mother doesn’t conform to thosenorms.”

The goal is to work toward a world where those social norms no longer exist. If more children seefathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision moreoptions for themselves. Expectations will not be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, andinterests.

I am fully aware that most women are not focused on changing social norms for the next generationbut simply trying to get through each day. Forty percent of employed mothers lack sick days andvacation leave, and about 50 percent of employed mothers are unable to take time off to care for a sickchild.

Only about half of women receive any pay during maternity leave.

These policies can havesevere consequences; families with no access to paid family leave often go into debt and can fall intoC:\Users\Yuvi\Documents\Calibre Library\Sheryl Sandberg\Lean In (31)\Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg\images\000002.jpgpoverty.

Part-time jobs with fluctuating schedules offer little chance to plan and often stop short ofthe forty-hour week that provides basic benefits.

Too many work standards remain inflexible and unfair, often penalizing women with children. Toomany talented women try their hardest to reach the top and bump up against systemic barriers. Somany others pull back because they do not think they have a choice. All of this brings me back toLeymah Gbowee’s insistence that we need more women in power. When leadership insists that thesepolicies change, they will. Google put in pregnancy parking when I asked for it and it remains therelong after I left. We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.

MY MOTHER had fewer choices than I did, but with my father’s support, she has always worked hard.

During my childhood, she chose to be a devoted mother and volunteer. When I left for college, shewent back to school to study teaching English as a second language. She taught full-time for fifteenyears and felt that teaching was her calling. “At one point, I was asked to become the administrator forthe entire school,” my mother told me. “I said no, preferring to stay in the classroom and work withmy students. I was exactly where I wanted to be.”

In 2003, my mother left the workforce to take care of her ailing parents. She was sorry to leave herteaching career, but family has always been her top priority. After my grandparents passed away, shereentered the workforce. She founded Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing, a nonprofit to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in young people. At the age of sixty-five, she has returned to her love ofteaching, running workshops and speaking to students from elementary to high school.

My mother has leaned in her entire life. She raised her children, helped her parents spend their finalyears in dignity and comfort, and continues to be a dedicated and loving wife, mother, andgrandmother. She has always contributed to her community and the world. She is my inspiration.

My mother wants to see society achieve true equality. She sees the barriers that women still face,but she also sees new opportunities. She believes that what I have achieved, and much more, ispossible for many others. I agree. And more important, so many women that I have encountered agree.

Filled with energy, optimism, and self-confidence, they are scrambling along that jungle gym andmoving toward their long-term dream.

It’s up to us to end the self-fulfilling belief that “women can’t do this, women can’t do that.”

Throwing up our hands and saying “It can’t be done” ensures that it will never be done.

I have written this book to encourage women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, andachieve their full potential. I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for themwith gusto. And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and inthe home, also with gusto. As we start using the talents of the entire population, our institutions will bemore productive, our homes will be happier, and the children growing up in those homes will nolonger be held back by narrow stereotypes.

I know that for many women, getting to the top of their organization is far from their primary focus.

My intention is not to exclude them or ignore their valid concerns. I believe that if more women leanin, we can change the power structure of our world and expand opportunities for all. More femaleleadership will lead to fairer treatment for all women. Shared experience forms the basis of empathyand, in turn, can spark the institutional changes we need.

Critics have scoffed at me for trusting that once women are in power, they will help one another,since that has not always been the case.

I’m willing to take that bet. The first wave of women whoascended to leadership positions were few and far between, and to survive, many focused more onfitting in than on helping others. The current wave of female leadership is increasingly willing tospeak up. The more women attain positions of power, the less pressure there will be to conform, andthe more they will do for other women. Research already suggests that companies with more womenin leadership roles have better work-life policies, smaller gender gaps in executive compensation, andmore women in midlevel management.

The hard work of generations before us means that equality is within our reach. We can close theleadership gap now. Each individual’s success can make success a little easier for the next. We can dothis—for ourselves, for one another, for our daughters, and for our sons. If we push hard now, thisnext wave can be the last wave. In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just beleaders.

When Gloria Steinem marched in the streets to fight for the opportunities that so many of us nowtake for granted, she quoted Susan B. Anthony, who marched in the streets before her and concluded,“Our job is not to make young women grateful. It is to make them ungrateful so they keep going.”

The sentiment remains true today. We need to be grateful for what we have but dissatisfied with thestatus quo. This dissatisfaction spurs the charge for change. We must keep going.

The march toward true equality continues. It continues down the halls of governments,corporations, academia, hospitals, law firms, nonprofits, research labs, and every organization, largeand small. We owe it to the generations that came before us and the generations that will come after tokeep fighting. I believe women can lead more in the workplace. I believe men can contribute more inthe home. And I believe that this will create a better world, one where half our institutions are run bywomen and half our homes are run by men.

I look toward the world I want for all children—and my own. My greatest hope is that my son andmy daughter will be able to choose what to do with their lives without external or internal obstaclesslowing them down or making them question their choices. If my son wants to do the important workof raising children full-time, I hope he is respected and supported. And if my daughter wants to workfull-time outside her home, I hope she is not just respected and supported, but also liked for herachievements.

I hope they both end up exactly where they want to be. And when they find where their truepassions lie, I hope they both lean in—all the way.


©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533